More Autonomy Needed in Rural and Diverse Landscapes: RN to BSN Programs in New Mexico

Why might you, as a New Mexico RN, consider taking coursework toward your BSN? Because New Mexico faces a lot of health challenges, some of which come, quite literally, with the terrain. Nationwide, rural healthcare require more autonomy and more coordinative skills. What’s more, New Mexico ranks as low as #50 on some healthcare indicators. According to New Mexico State University, healthcare discrepancies are a significant issue within the state as are issues related to culturally competent healthcare. When it comes to diversity, New Mexico ranks 5th in the nation.

BSN programs include advanced nursing coursework that can help you function in a variety of roles both inside and outside traditional hospital settings. As an RN to BSN student, you’ll study community and public health nursing. You will take classes in leadership and professional collaboration. Health assessment is another component of accredited RN to BSN programs. As an RN, you learned to evaluate a patient’s condition; as a BSN student, you will learn more advanced pathophysiology and also how to evaluate needs within a family and community context. (This can be helpful if, for example, you manage services for a special needs child or an elderly person in assisted care.)

Cultural competence is stressed throughout the program. BS completion programs often include fieldwork in public health nursing. A leadership practicum may be included as well. There may be opportunities to take nursing electives that will help you meet professional goals. These could include everything from health informatics to alterative medicine.

BSN Career Mobility Outlook in New Mexico

Although BSN graduates do not take a different board exam or receive a new license, they are competitive for a wider range of positions. A BSN is often preferred for nurse manager positions. Employers like Presbyterian Healthcare in Albuquerque require new hires who are in certain leadership roles to complete their BSN within five years. This mandate applies to a variety of positions including surgical services team leader and charge nurse. (Magnet hospitals must have at least 75% of their nurse managers at the baccalaureate level, so you often start to see changes in hiring practices as facilities begin to consider working toward magnet status.)

A baccalaureate is required for some community nursing roles. The Veterans Administration, for example, requires it for community nursing home liaison. Public and private agencies alike prefer it for positions like case manager or telephonic services coordinator. New Mexico’s school nurses have additional licensing beyond their RN. They are licensed at different levels depending on educational level. Licensing at the professional level requires a baccalaureate.

There are a lot of options to consider. Even if you stay in your current role for a period of time, you may see a pay increase. Institutions like the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center offer higher compensation for baccalaureate level nurses.

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BSN Completion Program Considerations

If you do choose to complete your BSN, you may opt for flexible scheduling or for an online program. There are both full- and part-time tracks. If you have a license as an RN, chance are good that you’ll receive credit for thirty or more units of lower division nursing courses. Some schools will accept direct transfer of units while others will ask you to take mobility exams. You may also receive credit for quite a few prerequisites and supporting courses. If you didn’t take statistics as an ADN student, though, you will probably need to do so during your baccalaureate program. There may also be other general studies requirements. Costs vary, but you may pay less than $200 per credit for a New Mexico program. This is lower than in many parts of the nation.

RN to BSN Programs in New Mexico

Eastern New Mexico University

New Mexico Highlands University

New Mexico State University

University of New Mexico

Western New Mexico University

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